It's awards season, the season in which writers, bloggers, and fans will argue over who did the best baseball things over the course of the 2015 season. SB Nation is doing their own awards-giving in the following categories:
- Hitter of the Year
- Pitcher of the Year
- Defensive Play of the Year
- Bat Flip / Celebration of the Year
- Best Breakage of Unwritten Rules of the Year
This particular article relates to the "Hitter of the Year" award - you may define "Hitter of the Year" in whatever way is meaningful to you in order to vote. This is not separated by league. The writers at BtBS have submitted a few nominations for each award to help narrow down the choices from "everyone" to "less than everyone". Here are the choices:
Stat line: .330 / .460 / .649 for a 197 wRC+ and 9.5 fWAR.
The guy walked almost as much as he struck out, and he struck out one out of every five plate appearances. Only Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz hit more home runs than he did. Only Joey Votto had a higher walk rate (among qualified players). He was 25 percent better at the plate than Mike Trout, who is otherwordly. Harper will almost certainly win the NL MVP award.
Stat line: .299 / .402 / .590 for a 172 wRC+ and 9.0 fWAR.
Mike Trout had a very Trout-ian season in which he played a lot, hit a lot, and all-around was better than almost every other player. He had only one fewer home run than Harper.
Stat line: .314 / .459 / .541 for a 172 wRC+ and 7.4 fWAR.
Bested only by Harper in OBP (by one point), Votto had an incredible rebound season after he was "only" 27 percent above average last year. He actually did walk more than he struck out, and he struck out 19.4 percent of the time. Votto may be 32 now, but 2015's wRC+ was tied for his second-best ever.
Stat line: .321 / .435 / .570 for a 164 wRC+ and 7.4 fWAR.
A first baseman who can hit the ball a ton AND ...steal bases? Goldschmidt had 21 stolen bases and 3.1 BsR, which was pretty close to Harper and Trout's BsR values. Harper and Trout are outfielders. He also hit more dingers than Votto.
Stat line: .250 / .356 / .48.....Wait...what?
At a 129 wRC+, Rodriguez wasn't exactly in the upper echelon of hitters. He was ranked 29th by wRC+ on FanGraphs. However, the last time Rodriguez had a season this good (for him) was in 2009. He was in the top 10 in walk rate (among qualified players). His ISO ranked 17th at .235, which wasn't far from Goldy's and beat out Votto's. At age 40, Rodriguez can still hit for power. Apparently.
This is really to increase the pool of non-Harper votes in a ...shocking way, I suppose.